Pride and peace

A very wise woman had once told me that pride costs us more than all the wars and disease in the world combined. That was a long time ago and since then her words have been there somewhere at the back of my mind. As the years have gone by I have tried to confirm the validity of this claim and you know what, I think she was right.

Our whole lives are nothing more than a blink of an eye on the pages of history and yet we fool ourselves into believing that we are always right and our pride and arrogance is justified. Seldom do we care for anyone else’s life except through tainted eyes of jealousy and distrust. And before we know it, we stand facing the grim reaper and then, at the very end, realization dawns that we really screwed up. But its too late by then and we move on helpless.

I really believe that the doors we close here in this life are closed to us forever when this life is over, whether its judgment or reincarnation. And the door we strive to leave open in this life always remain open for us afterwards. It sounds simple but seldom is anything as simple as we try to make it to be. The doors here could be of fraternity, friendship or just goodwill – whatever we choose, we could try and leave this world with those doors always open for us because sooner or later each and every heartbeat we have experienced must be accounted for. And it does not make any sense to leave with grudges and ill-will. Life is too short for it and there is no way to recover from our mistakes afterwards. As far as I know most religions propagate something like this as a core requirement.

I do not know what happens when we die but I do know that chances we have to extend that olive branch in this life are no longer there when the life is no longer there. Wasted chances that cannot ever be recovered. Why not go with a smile and spend the entire eternity smiling? I know it can be difficult but I also know its not impossible. Writing this is certainly much easier than actually practicing it, I know I have tried it and failed more times than I care to recount. But its still worth trying and worth remembering even if for the occasional victory in a mountain of defeats. Even that solitary victory is a victory for mankind and for whichever deity you happen to believe in. The fact that despite all the easier pleasures out there, good-will and charity still feel good down to the soul is proof that God has not yet lost all hope with humanity. The soul still remembers.

Try it for a day, a moment at a time. Leave guile and pride behind and actually try to understand the person before you. Understand him before you try to judge him and declare yourself to be better. Walk in his shoes for a little while and then ask yourself whether you would not be exactly like him if life had not been kinder to you than it has been to him. You will find that suddenly you and him have a lot in common and it’s a lot easier to get along with everyone than you initially thought. I guess that’s all it takes to leave that door open forever.

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